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tv   In Depth  CSPAN  August 17, 2009 7:45am-8:00am EDT

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one is ayn rand who is derided as an awful stylist and a bad writer but she is finally getting in this age of large-state enterprises and collectization, she's getting a long look from a couple of serious scholars. one of these books are due out in october. one is called ayn rand and the world she made which a intellectual and social piography and the other one is by jennifer burns, and it's called goddest of the market, ayn rand and the american right. it's fascinating to see rand finally getting evaluation from american intellectuals. rand in the '50s i always felt she was much more like -- she always saw hers as a part of the mainstream society but she set in a antiauthoritarian proindividual strand that you see from other authors or on the left a number of intellectuals
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such as paul goodman, growing up absurd and people like the lonely crowd, david riceman's book or the man in the gray flannel suit. rand has been doing extremely well over the past couple of months partly because of things coming out of d.c. but she's a writer and a figure more importantly who we should all study with care if we want to have a roadmap to why people are feeling the way that they are right now. and then because it's summer and i'm going on vacation in august, i always try to take a couple of novels to read. and i go back almost every year to balzak, the french novelist who's comedy are interrelated novels tell the story moving into an industrial revolution and economy. the move from the farm to the city and all of the great possibilities that holds open for self-transformation. big fan and the balzak that i'm
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looking at is the black sheep and later partly because my older son, jack, who's high school student read this for his upcoming sophomore year in high school, ha jin fantastic "war trash" that came out from 2004 is told from the point of view of a chinese soldier who is held in an american p.o.w. war it's a haunting tale which give us an insight into china which is clearly one of the countries that will be defining our lifetime and probably centuries to come. so that's my summer reading and i hope to get it all done by the end of -- by labor day weekend. >> to see more summer reading lists and other program information, visit our website at booktv.org. ♪
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♪ >> next, a portion of book tv's monthly three-hour live program in depth on the first sunday of each month we invite one author to discuss their entire body of work and take your calls. in depth also includes a visit with the author to see where and how they write their books. that's what you're about to see. we visited author and critic stanley crouch at his home in lower manhattan. >> we're in the west village. near the hudson river. and i've been living here for 20 years. . >> what kind of neighborhood is this in the west village? . >> well, it's considered a employ maybe. i guess'd be called middle class or upper middle class. somebody a bit of a -- so it's
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fairly quiet so you quiet so you don't have to deal with those irritating external things that many other people in a lower position in society do. >> and this is -- the room you're in is your office. this is where you work? >> yes, this is my office. i work in here and my wife and i live next door and, you know, in another place. >> what's a typical workday like for you in here? how do you go about writing? >> when i get up i guess about 6:00, 630. i come in here i read the newspapers on the internet. then i start writing something. >> and the writing is done on this computer here? >> yeah. see, whenever i write something -- i've written about
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six or seven versions. if i'm writing a scene in a novel or in a -- or writing a passage in an essay -- i have many different versions of it and so i'll fill up these -- there will be file after file and it will be called so-and-so 2, 3, 4, whatever it is. then when i get to a certain point i'll read all of them and figure out which one is the best. or begin to take things out of different parts or sometimes i will go along and i will realize that there's a phrase -- no more than that in another file. and then i have to go back through all the files to search out that phrase if i don't remember it. but sometimes i'll say, no, no, no, that's not it. it's perhaps that 16 words somewhere because, you know, 16 words can always be very important. >> i see there are a lot of
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filing cabinets around here that have parker a through e and parker on them. do you use those -- what's contained in those files? >> those files contain all of the interviews from the long-awaited charlie parker book. long-awaited because i've been working on it for about 22 years. let's put it like this, i've been known to be writing it for about 22 years. i haven't been working on it for 22 years. but i'm about two years from completing it. now i've written over 400 pages. i've done many interviews, many of the people whom i interviewed are now dead and so i think it's time for me to finally get the book out there because many people seem to be interested in it. parker was a remarkable character. he was extraordinarily talented. he helped make an addition to the aesthetic possibilities.
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he didn't invent it. i don't believe in that. and so his story, which is a short one from 1920 to 1955 crosses the depression. it crosses world war ii. and it ends shortly after the supreme court decision in 1954. so there's a lot that happened in his lifetime. >> there's a lot of books in your room. what do i decide to keep here and do you use them when you're writing? >> well, these are -- these are more or less essentials, but there are many books that are
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stored in boxes down in the basement. i don't have books about jazz, a lot of books before film, about painting, about american culture, about race, i guess, if we want to call it that. the story of color and the problems of color. as they manifest themselves in the united states or in the world at large. >> i want to walk the audience through your books so far 'cause we've gotten a lot of calls about one of them. the one you cocollaborated on. this is 1979 to 1989 essays called notes of a hanging judge. followed by the all-american skin game or the decoy of race. then always in pursuit, fresh american perspectives '95 to '97 and the most current work and novel don't the moon look lonesome.
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stanley coach is going to take a tour of his bookshelf in his office. >> well, this book, kenneth clark, what is a masterpiece? i read this often. it's a very important book for me. 'cause he makes it very clear -- clark had a very clear understanding of what made the masterpiece. and how the masterpiece was always connected to the deepest aspects of the tradition. out of which the artist came. and to the present in which the art was made. and it is the combination of the past and the present that gives the masterpiece enough energy to carry it into the future. the disuniting of by arthur schlesinger is very, very
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important. because i think he puts it in context exactly what our problems are at this particular time. in terms of this idea of multiculturalism. and stuff of that sort. now, this book here, divine days by leon forrest, i think is probably the greatest afro-american novel. it still has some of the deepest, richest most well-written passages that have entered the american fiction. next to websters, that's shakespeare. you know, he's the ongoing
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champ. you know, he understood the species. now, there is, of course -- then there's the bible and i've got all kinds of versions of that. i've got the new oxford. i've got the five books of moses. i've got the comparative study of the bible. i've got the complete dead sea scrolls. now, why do i have that? see, the one thing about the bible is this, you can be sure, almost positive, that anywhere you open it up, it's firing on you? every night you'll open it up and you'll get a long distance of genealogy he begat, blah, blah, blah. when you don't get to that, the
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writing the understanding the drama, the rhythm is there. very few books are like that. the bible is one of them, you know? the only one of them that i know of. you know, now, you say well, i don't know you get in there and something is going on, right? ellison, of course, towers over many of us in many ways. for the creation of invisible man for their extraordinary first book of essays shadow and act, what a book! that we've got all of the stuff he did. juneteenth, no good. invisible man, invisible man. this is my original copy of shadow and act. going to the territory, another invisible man, which i'm proud of which ellison autographed
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both of these. now, here is a flawed masterpiece by philip roth. a writer of stunning gifts. i mean, it's flawed only because it seems to be that he didn't really follow the obvious elements of race that included -- that were involved -- that were more than peripheral to these stories. these markers are here so i don't have to read the book again, you know? not that i don't have to read it again so certain things that really struck me i can go right to them and they're always there -- they're sentences, they're passages, they're things that help me understand the way in which the structure was organized. >> is that your color coding with the green and the blue? >> sometimes. sometimes it only means that i ran out of blue. other times i have -- other
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times i'll figure out when i go back that one color means the passages that i really like and others are the ones that less and the other ones will be the less that i like of the two. ♪..

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